You think your MINI is small? Or maybe the clown car at the circus? Think again, because researchers at Rice University have succeeded in building a functional vehicle out of a single molecule.
At four nanometers long and three wide, the Nanocar has four independently rotating axles, built-in suspension, and off-road style oversized wheels. To give you an idea of the scale here, each wheel is made up of just one atom. The car rolls forward or backward across a nanoscale surface, its suspension absorbing atomic-scale steps and holes in the surface.

A photon-powered internal motor has been developed and awaits integration with the nanocar to make the first powered nanoscale vehicle. (And then you just know that enterprising grad students will organize nanocar races.)

Lots more at, including video of a nanoscale traffic accident!

[Thanks for the tip, Robyn!]

Share This Photo X